If a purchase agreement has an inspection contingency and the inspection disclosed repairs the seller was unwilling to make, how do we get our deposit released to us?

UPDATED: Aug 6, 2011

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If a purchase agreement has an inspection contingency and the inspection disclosed repairs the seller was unwilling to make, how do we get our deposit released to us?

We put a deposit down on a house that we were going to buy contingent upon home inspection. The seller would not fix the problems with the home so we called it quits. The seller has signed the release form but the realtor will not return our deposit.

Asked on August 6, 2011 Virginia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Most likely your deposit for the purchase of the home is with an escrow company that was retained to handle the sale. Since the purchase of the home was subject to approval by you of the home inspection, you did not approve of what the inspection turned up, you are now unwilling to release this contingency.

As a result, you can refuse to close escrow as within your rights and are entitle to the return of the deposit placed for the purchase.

If you have the signed release of your deposit from the seller and you have the money in a third party escrow, send it to the escrow company requesting its return in a stated number of days advising tha escrow is cancelled. Escrow is then required to comply with the mutual instructions of the parties.

If you have your own real estate agent in the transaction, have him or her do this task.

If the listing real estate agent is holding your deposit (seller's agent), you or your own agent make a written demand for its return upon him or her within a stated period of time. If this does not happen, the listing agent's broker of record should be personally contacted about the deposit's return. If it is not then returned with a certain time period after contact with the broker of record, make a complaint with your state's Department of Real Estate about what is not being done by the listing agent.

Good luck.

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